Today's Sponsor
 California Wine Club
Shop now, pay and ship later!

In This Issue
 Where is Segre? We wander off the wine world's beaten path again for a visit to this less-familiar Spanish region.
 The California Wine Club Shop now, pay and ship later!
 Vilosell 2004 Segre Red Wine ($15.99)
A hearty, robust red from a less-familiar Spanish region, it's a warm-climate, fruit-forward wine but doesn't hide a bit of earthy, Old World character.
Administrivia Change E-mail address, frequency, format or unsubscribe.

 Learn about our RSS Feed

Where is Segre?

If you're ever feeling daunted by the complications that make wine both difficult and fun, here's news that may or may not make you feel better: Sometimes even the alleged experts have to look things up.

So it was for me the other day, when I walked into a local wine shop and found this hearty red wine being poured from a bottle with a horizontally striped label that looks a bit like a rugby shirt.

Segre? Where in the heck is that?

I had to turn the bottle around and read the fine print to get the full name of the region - Costers de Segre ("Segre Hills") - before I could dig the details out of Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book and Jancis Robinson's Oxford Companion to Wine.

A quick glance at those two primary references - once I knew to look under "C" and not "S" - and we've pin-pointed Segre on the map of Spain. A small and relatively recent Denominacion de Origen ("denomination of origin, abbreviated "DO"), Segre incorporates three or four separate spots in the arid inland mountains of Catalunya, generally just north of the more well-known Priorat, maybe an hour's drive west of Barcelona.

Named after a small river of the region that flows into Rioja's Ebro, Segre is a place of climate extremes by Mediterranean standards, where rainfall is scant and temperatures can range from below freezing to 100F.

Most of the common Spanish wine grapes are grown there, along with traditional French wine grapes, and today's featured wine - produced by the wine maker Tomás Cusiné, whose family makes the more familiar Catalunyan wine Castell del Remei - incorporates quite a few of them. Named after the village in which the wine is made, Vilosell 2004 Costers del Segre Red Wine is a blend of 50 percent Tempranillo ("Ull de Llebre" in Catalan), 26 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 percent Merlot, 9 percent Grenache "Garnatxa") and 5 percent Syrah. It's fermented in tanks but then sees nine months in French oak.

It comes across as fruit-forward and powerful, but in fairness, this appears to be a trademark of the region and the fruit. Old World earthiness and minerality clearly bespeak its Spanish heritage; it's not just another anonymous international-style fruit bomb.

Today's Sponsor

California Wine Club
Shop now, pay and ship later!
The California Wine Club

Why wait? Place your holiday gift orders now with The California Wine Club and receive no billing and no shipping until December.

Trust The California Wine Club to deliver gifts of award-winning wine that can't be found in local stores. It's a true California wine adventure!

Each month is just $32.95 plus shipping and includes:

  • Two bottles of wine handcrafted by one of California's best artisan winemakers
  • Beautiful and entertaining magazine, Uncorked
  • Discounts of up to 50% on reorders
  • A 100 percent satisfaction guarantee

Send as many months as you wish and save with discounts on gifts of 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.

Visit to order or call 1-800-777-4443.

No shopping, no shipping and no wrapping ... no wonder The California Wine Club makes holiday gift giving easy!

Vilosell Vilosell 2004 Segre Red Wine ($15.99)

This Catalan red from wine maker Tomás Cusiné is made in the relatively new wine region Costers del Segre in Northeeastern Spain not far from Priorat. It's a very dark reddish-purple color with a garnet edge. Plum and black cherries add a hint of barnyard and a whiff of oak in a complex aroma. Fruit-forward flavors blend cherry cordial and sharp acidity, with more subtle earthy minerality, restrained oaky vanilla and perceptible tannins in the background. Warm and long, it seems a little more alcoholic than the advertised 13%, and it leaves a bit of gritty sediment in the bottom of the glass and bottle. U.S. importer: European Cellars LLC, Charlotte, N.C.; an Eric Solomon Selection. (Nov. 14, 2006)

FOOD MATCH: This robust red would go well with red meat or sharp cheese; its blend of fruit and earth with good acidity made it a fine match with a golden chanterelle risotto with pancetta and prosciutto.

VALUE: While there's no complaint about this wine's value in the middle teens, it's worth shopping around, as retail price points seem to vary unusually widely, from around $11 to $18.

WHEN TO DRINK: Abundant fruit and tannins suggest some aging potential, although the relatively heavy early sediment may caution against long-term cellaring.

Segre = "Seh-gray"
Vilosell = "Vee-loh-sell"

You'll find a detailed spec sheet on Tomas Cusine's two Catalan reds on the importer's Website. This link downloads a PDF document; you'll need the Adobe Reader to view it:

Search for vendors and check prices for Vilosell on

To read and comment on today's column in our non-commercial WineLovers Discussion Group, click:

Today's article is cross-posted in our Netscape WineLovers Community, where we also welcome comments and questions.

To contact me by E-mail, write I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

Here's a simply formatted copy of today's Wine Advisor, designed to be printed out for your scrapbook or file or downloaded to your PDA or other wireless device.


To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.

We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to

All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor

Wine Advisor archives